On June 24th, 2017 the ninth TedxTeen event took place at the O2 arena in London featuring a wide range of speakers and performers focusing on the theme of ‘Bold Moves’, which I had the chance to attend.
After a minute of silence and a round of applause dedicated to the lives lost to the Grenfell Tower fire and a thought for all the tragedies that recently occurred across the globe, the conference started with a dance performance by Neosis displaying their very special moves.
Afterwards, as Ziad Ahmed, an eighteen-year-old social justice activist, opened the series of talks, he defined the sub-category of the event. He became notable in the media soon after writing his personal statement for university (read more here). However, the lesson learnt from his talk is a more general idea, although human rights are based on universal values. Indeed, he tackled his senior year project of talking to every single person at his high school. The importance of human connection was thus strongly emphasized, and at the end of the end each speaker had given prominence to that idea, be it as a result of mental health, a story about bullying, helping refugees through education, or merely through a musical performance.
Moreover, although this was an event directed to youth and teenagers, speakers and audience alike made the dialogue possible by being inclusive. In fact, we have to bear in mind that age is only a number and they way the host, Simon Cohen, never mentioned the speakers’ age is to take into account. From eighteen-year-olds to the grand ninety-one-year-old Ben Ferencz, the incredible beings that appeared on stage during the day proved that everything is possible, everybody can make a difference, and that the date of birth means absolutely nothing.
« We have never been more connected, more innovative or more resourceful. […] Our generation is the light. Our problems and issues don’t define us. Our BOLD MOVES do. »
Millennials and generations to come are holding countless resources, and it is true indeed that they seem to be the one of the most inspired generations to make a change in the world. We all have a say in the matters that are making the news today, in the issues that are perverting our world but it is our actions that matter. As Muzoon, Syrian refugee and youngest Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, passionately stated, ‘you don’t have to be great to start somewhere, you have to start somewhere to be great’.
Zoe, a seventeen-year-old student, described her experience as ‘absolutely amazing. She says, ‘I knew it would be great from the start but it definitely surpassed all of my expectations. Every single speaker and performer resonated with me in different ways. It’s an experience I’ll never forget. I met so many cool people, spoke to some of the performers and speakers and they were so nice and inspiring. The atmosphere was amazing and you could tell everyone was there for the same reason as me, to make a bold move. Listening to everyone and meeting new people truly inspired me and I can’t wait for what’s in store.’ You can read more about her experience here.
Jessiara, as she explained in a video, adds: ‘One thing I learnt from today, the biggest lesson I’ve learnt today is that life is amazing, it really is. There are so many like-minded people like me who have ideas, many excellent ideas that could possible change our world. We all have something in common, not sharing that idea for whatever reason. But today is the day I’ve decided to use the Internet, social media as my journal, my scrapbook, my visual diary of thoughts, ideas and so on. I’ll read what I’ve written in the hopes of someone listening, someone, that may be one person or ten people, someone in the UK or someone in Canada… I don’t care anymore about being different, I don’t anymore about living up to expectations and doing typical videos that’s already out there. We should be celebrating each other’s differences and quirks. There could be people doing what I’m doing today, speaking out, being bold. And I will join them in harmony. We need to stop being afraid of the truth, the things we don’t want to hear are the things we need to know. We need to know our truth. What’s your truth?’
❖ A FEW STRIKING QUOTES:
‘It’s okay to live.’ – Tyler Dunning
‘You don’t have to be great to start. You have to start somewhere to be great.’ – Muzoon Al-Mellehan
‘How can we cultivate the leaders of tomorrow and today if we aren’t talking about today, let alone tomorrow?’ – Ziad Ahmed
‘Do not despair. be bold in your thinking and your acting.’ – Ben Ferencz
‘It shouldn’t be considered brave to talk about mental health, it should be considered normal.’ – Amelia Halls
As Simon Cohen concluded, there is something truly astounding to remember from this mind-blowing lineup: the fact that we started the day in remembrance of the lives we recently lost and yet it ended on a very positive note, everyone members of the audience and speakers alike feeling enlightened, hopeful and inspired to make our own bold moves. Now is the time.
As I am reflecting upon several projects I intend to work on in the near future that I hope will somewhat have the same impact as the stories we heard at TedxTeen London 2017, I urge you to keep updated through their website in the following weeks and be inspired by the talks of this bunch of breathtaking advocates.
What is your next bold move?
You can learn more about the speakers here.